Linky Friday #116


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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282 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    S5: Very interesting article. I think that the development of gay identity required a society that was increasingly secular and scientific in it’s worldview but still bound by religious ideas about sex and sexuality in many ways. During the late 19th century writing off sex with members of your own gender as a sin was becoming an increasingly unpopular way to describe the world among the educated elite because it was not scientific. Something more rational was needed as an explanation. At the same time, Western society was not ready to accept sex acts that could be described as sinful under Christianity. It took until the late 1960s for pre-marital heterosexual sex to be seen as a part of life. This disconnect led to a situation where homosexual attraction was viewed as permanent rather than an occasional sin but not allowed. The newly discovered permanence of same-sex attraction required the creation of a sub-culture, gayness, for homosexuals to survive being persecuted. If the secularization of society coincided with tolerance for homosexuality at the same time, gayness might not have evolved because it would be unnecessary.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Greeks had the notion of “gay identity” way before then, Lee.
      Not that they liked the idea of gayness (as opposed to pederasty, which was rightly seen as something different, as the boy wasn’t supposed to like it).Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It was an okay article. I think he missed the connections between the US-UK gay community and what was happening in pre-WWII Berlin, which is a big deal. He mentions the drag balls, but they were in Berlin also, and likely began there. See this book:

      I’m not happy that he left trans people out of the story — cuz we were there and it matters, and yes you can say that a “transgender identity” as such didn’t exist until (depending on how you want to count) anywhere between the 40’s and the 90’s, cuz it’s complicated. But the point is, there was a lot of time when we were considered basically just gay.

      And how!

      Those kids throwing rocks at Stonewall, some of them were trans. Some of them were overtly trans at the time, openly living as women, as best they could given the tools they had. Many transitioned later as it became more possible. But still, since the first hormones were given out, they were the dirty secret in the back of every drag club, with the queens strongly divided on the topic. We were always there, in every gay bar since they invented gays bars, including the first “Molly Houses” back in England-comma-jolly-old. Every shout of “queer” or “invert” or indeed “faggot” could land on one of us as quickly as one of them. Still the truth. Got called a faggot this week.

      Point is, trans women are not gay, but we used to be, and plenty still think we are. And I don’t expect some cis gay to say something deeply insightful about us, cuz how could he? But still, he could do more to acknowledge us. I’m kinda sick of pompous cis gays who want to write us out of our story.

      This is shared history. Cis gays want to keep it all for themselves.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

        Oh and Slate wants me to pay extra to read the part about lesbians. That just — well, adorable.

        I bet the get letters.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to veronica d says:

        I agree that is not the main focus of the article, but he does in fact hit just that point here:

        It makes sense that male-presenting, city-dwelling white homosexuals, given their relative privilege, would be freest to practice gayness in the open and therefore be seen by the mainstream as most representative of that culture. But the historical record shows that gayness was never limited to that demographic, and indeed, it was often less privileged groups—femme individuals, people of color, poor people, bisexuals, trans people, women of various sexualities and gender presentations—who were gayness’s most fearless creators and practitioners. (For evidence of that, look no further than the Prancing Elites, a black gay and transgender dance team fearlessly bringing their own sort of gayness to hostile communities in the Deep South.) These groups and others continue to use gayness for their own purposes, refracting it through their lenses on the world—for them, the practices of coping and critique afforded by gayness are hardly dispensable.


        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Glyph says:

          The birth of gay culture in the late 19th and early 20th century also coincides with a period where many men remained bachelors compared to previous periods in American history. It generally wasn’t considered that unusual to be an older bachelor during this time period, especially in the cities. This gave gay men much more freedom to create a subculture than lesbian women. Women were under more social pressure to marry and have children even though some of them never did. Even those that did, did not have the freedom to create a subculture.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Glyph says:

          @glyph — Yeah I saw that, but it felt like an afterthought. Like (this is maybe not fair) but it feels like something the editor made him add in.

          We were part of the story. A person could read that article and not quite get that. I mean, I don’t expect him to center us. In fact, I wouldn’t want him to try, since I doubt he has enough sensitivity to us to get it right. But still! We deserve more than one passing mention in a history where we where there at every turn.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to veronica d says:

        But the point is, there was a lot of time when we were considered basically just gay.

        I’ve read a few different things that portray gay culture in the early 1900, like the Mary Russell stories, and it’s often amazing how little difference it there seems to be between women that ‘act like a man’ and ‘attracted to women’. Or vis versa for men.

        I mean, at this point, people who know anything about LGBT people often are fairly careful to make the difference between gay and trans, but, as you say, that’s not a difference that really existed, historically. Everyone was just sorta…’queer’. I believe the current term would be ‘genderfluid’? (And everyone seemed slightly bi, also.)

        The ‘normalization’ of gay people into ‘straight people who have different bed preferences’ is sorta a weird thing to behold, historically. And right now, the same thing is happening to trans people, making them into perfectly normal people who just happen to have…well, a genetic disorder that causes their body to grow the wrong way if not correct.

        There’s a bit of whitewashing going there, pretending like there are just two flags. One ‘I am a man or woman’ flag and one ‘I am attracted to men or women’ flag, and some people just have them set to non-expected values, and that’s all…but this is, historically, complete bullshit.

        Of course, I’m sure the community has already figured this out and has actual terminology to talk about it.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC says:

          I’ll admit when I was a young man (who was raised very conservatively) first going to drag shows, I had a hard time making sense of the different categories just there. I already knew that “straight male/female” weren’t the only two categories humans fell into, but I didn’t know how much more additional variation there could be past just “gay/lesbian”.

          People who identified as men (gay OR straight) who just liked dressing in drag/”performing” as women, vs. trans women who already lived as women or aspired to (and of course, to someone just learning about this stuff, the degree to which surgery/hormones were being employed seemed highly germane – today, I can think that a woman might have a penis; but then, that was a very difficult concept to wrap my brain around.)Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to DavidTC says:

          @davidtc — Yeah, reality is vague, but there are a few bright lines. For example, either you want to go on hormones or you do not. I mean, someone might be ambivalent on the topic, the same way we can be torn about any hard decision, but in the end it is something you do or something you do not do. (And yes, some people change their minds, but that’s a separate topic.)

          I take hormones. I passed through female puberty, although I did it later in life and had already passed through male puberty. I have natural breasts. My erotic responses are female-pattern. So yay. My “real name” is “Veronica,” which codes female in this culture. I have an “F” on my government issued ID.

          I’m not “gender fluid,” at least no more than any cis woman might be, without being notably “queer” in their gender identity.

          So yeah, this is a bright line.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to veronica d says:

            Well, yes, there are bright lines *now*. My point is that these bright line are *new*. And not just because of medical advances.

            Everything LGBT seems to codified and categorized, in a way it was not before, or at least that is what my reading seems to imply. Even, oddly, codifications of ‘unclassified’!

            Or, to put it another way, being gay actually *did* seem to be a lifestyle back then. (Even more than when the term ‘gay lifestyle’ first appeared) It, like all lifestyles, was a whole glob of behaviors.

            One of those behaviors was some cross-dressing. (For both men and women) To what level this was people actually being transgender and what level it was just being transgressive I have no idea. Some of this, possibly, had to do with gender roles being stricter, so for people ‘close to the line’ by being gay, it might have made sense to just go all the way across it. Some of it was probably an attempt to pass. Some of it was due to feminists.

            Nowadays, gay culture is disappearing as a entity, being absorbed into mainstream culture, which I think we all are aware of. But we tend to think of this disappearing gay culture as *1980s* gay culture, missing the point in that what really happened is that all the weird and random aspects of gayness sorta got defined into ‘We are exactly the same as everyone else except we are attracted to the same gender’ around then. And the same thing is sorta happening with transgender people.

            And somehow everything else, the extremely odd and mixed-together history of people who simply would not stay in ‘their place’, just vanishes. Everything gets strict dividing lines again, it’s just this time, we let homosexual people within the lines, and we’re trying to put transgender people in them also.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    C1: Its surprising the Chinese aren’t requiring them to sell pork to.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    C3: I know from professional experience, that graft in China is legendary. Police and cadres take bribes to let small criminals and dissidents out of jail. The collect bribes from Christians wanting to carry out services and business people wanting to run their businesses.Report

  4. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    C3: I have little indication that graft is a worse problem in India than in China. I think the standard infrastructure explanation is a solid one in addition to regulatory differences, and different attitudes of labor and toward labor.
    Additionally, India to my knowledge has no equivalent to China’s special economic zones.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      Democracy might be another reason why India did not come a manufacturing hub and could even explain why graft might have worked to India’s disadvantage but not necessarily hurt China. India is a rather chaotic democracy and China is most certainly not. There lots of interests that need to be pleased in India before anything could be done and I’ve read that Indian NIMBYs make American ones look positively amateurish and reasonable. This means that setting up things like Special Economic Zones is a lot more difficult in India than China because too many people need to be assuaged first. In China, a lot of the stuff can get done by fiat. Graft comes into play because graft in China is more organized than in India because of the political system. You know who you need to buy off in order to get things done. India probably requires you to buy off many more people in order to do the equivalent amount of work.Report

    • Combined loosely with C4, yes. If it generates electricity on a commercial scale, China has been building it furiously for the last 15 or more years, and bulk grid transport. They realize that reliable 24/7 electricity supplies are a necessary condition for a truly successful manufacturing base. Compare that to India, where electricity remains a sometimes elusive resource. I recall a quote from one of India’s big software companies to the effect that they were first an electricity-generating firm, where job #1 was getting enough fuel to keep their generators running reliably, and second a software company.Report

      • That was probably Reliance. I don’t know exactly how fair that anecdote is because Reliance is a huge conglomerate anyway, and they were in the utilities business to make money that way, not as a planned stepping stone toward allowing them to do IT work.Report

        • Could be, although my recollection was that it was a software company name that I recognized and the manager was definitely complaining bitterly about having to be in the “business” of generating their own power at all. He wanted US grid levels of reliability, so he could put in US levels of UPS and then not worry about it.Report

    • I have almost no knowledge of the history of India and only a few undergraduate courses’ worth of knowledge of Chinese history, but one reason China might have greater infrastructure is that it has tended to be a strongly centralized polity since the Qin dynasty (ca. 200 b.c.e.) and was able to undertake more massive infrastructural programs. India, as I understand it, has tended to less centrally united.

      These are tendencies and not hard and fast rules. And political centralization ca. 200 b.c.e. probably meant something a lot different than political centralization in 2015 c.e. And maybe I’m just wrong on the history, especially when it comes to India.Report

  5. Avatar zic says:

    B1 — I think most Americans have no problem with socialism so long as 1) we don’t call it socialism and 2) it’s the kind that benefits them but doesn’t necessarily benefit others without benefitting them.

    Mother Jones did a policy assessment of Sander’s positions vs. Most Americans’ positions; and say he’s only a fringe candidate on a few issues — socialism (huh?), estate taxes, climate change (mixed), trade, and pay equity for women. His policies, MJ says, align with the majority of Americans on income taxes, offshore tax havens, campaign finance reform, climate change (mixed), health care, regulating Wall St., education, wages, unions, and social services.

    More importantly, I don’t think anybody in the Democratic Party expects Sanders to be the nominee; though I suspect a lot of people wish something might change and make that a possibility. Instead, it’s really important to recognize that (if she is the presumptive nominee) Clinton needs someone running to her left to pull her left when it comes to shaping the party platform.

    Even if it’s obvious that one person will win the nomination (and obvious is not always a certitude,) unless it’s a sitting president running for re-election, challengers that help broaden the eventual party platform are a big part of the process, and people like Sanders (and perhaps Lindsey Graham?) who run with that as a goal are doing an important job in our political system.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

      Bernie Sanders should also more properly be described as a social democrat rather than a socialist. He is not advocating for government ownership of the means of production but rather for a welfare state in line with what exists in the Nordic countries and a return to New Deal levels of regulation on economic activity. He is not arguing that Apple should be nationalized though. It should also be noted that while Bernie Sanders is very much into gun rights and leans very right on that score.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

        And yet, I guarantee you there are many, many Bernie Sanders supporters patting themselves on the back for not being like those other stupid Americans who are put off by the term “socialism” without even knowing what it means.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          When half of the country hears socialism as a dogwhistle for “commie pig” and the other half hears it as a dogwhistle for “Democrat”… you can only throw up your hands and exclaim Dunderheads!Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          For once, what Kim said. Americans whose skin crawl at the term socialism have been using it as such a broad-based insult for generations. Anything other than full-strength capitalism is attacked as socialist.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Pretty much this. My experience is that people use “socialist” the same way third graders used “gay” when I was a kid. I ascribe almost no meaning to the term.

            I’m also pretty hesitant to engage in the “are you an X” philosophical classification games that people seem to like to play because almost nobody is 100% an X and then people get angry when others assume something about what they believe. I’m more of a, “Just tell me what you think about this one thing,” kind of guy.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          I can guarantee you the people who use the word socialism the most have no clue what it actually means or who supports it.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to greginak says:

            What does it actually mean?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to greginak says:

            “What is socialism, anyway?”

            “It means the workers own the means of production.”

            “Ooooohh… I get it. Wait, what are the means of production?”Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chris says:

              Isn’t that communism? Socialism is the government controls the means of production.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                No and no.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

                Also, thank you. If well-educated, well-read liberals misunderstand what socialism is, I think it’s safe to say that your average, everyday liberal is completely clueless.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                There is very little difference between ‘owns’ and ‘[completely] controls’. It doesn’t really matter whose name the factory deed is in if the government dictates everything the factory does.

                Socialism is when the government is operating one side of the economy, controlling what is made…but either the government (Or the companies it orders around) are still paying employees, and those employees *freely purchase* goods from said government. The ‘freely purchase’ is the important part there.

                Communism is when the government controls that also. Usually by not having people ‘purchase’, but by having some other manner of distribution. I.e., they’re working *both* ends of the economy.

                These are both fairly dubious ways to talk about governments, though. All governments exert *some* level of control over the means of production, and some lesser control over the other side also.

                A better term for separating out the problems of authoritarianism from the actual problems of the *economic system* is the term ‘planned economy’. Planned economies suck because they are very inefficient at responding to the market.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC says:

                Eh, not really. I mean, if you want to go with Marx’s transitional phases, the first stage is worker-controlled government ownership, and the second is the complete abolishing of private property, but it’s worth noting a.) that Marx himself saw both of these as stages of socialism (with communism as a special case of socialism), and b.) there were before Marx, and have continued to be since Marx, other theories of socialism. Socialism doesn’t have to involve governments at all (there are different kinds of anarchic socialism), it doesn’t have to involve government ownership, and it can be communistic.

                Socialism is simply collective ownership of the means of production, period. Everything else is different theories of how socialism can and should work: should it be anarcho-syndicalist, should it be market-based, should it be communistic, should it be centrally planned, should its planning be distributed, if there’s a state, what is its relationship to the collective, and so on and so forth.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chris says:

                Eh, not really. I mean, if you want to go with Marx’s transitional phases, the first stage is worker-controlled government ownership, and the second is the complete abolishing of private property, but it’s worth noting a.) that Marx himself saw both of these as stages of socialism (with communism as a special case of socialism)

                Yes. Communism is a subset of socialism.

                Socialism is simply collective ownership of the means of production, period.

                I don’t know what you mean by ‘collective’. By that definition, you’ve just accidentally placed all publicly traded corporations under socialism.

                Socialism is when *all of society* owns/controls the means of production, and *something* is stopping competitors from existing. (Otherwise, you’ve just got a public alternative to a private market.)

                And a lot of the arguing of ‘socialists’, is people fighting over a difference in defining *government*, not a difference in socialism. Just because one set of people call their rules ‘a government’ and the other don’t does not really alter the economic system. The canonical self-sustaining hippy commune somewhere that operates without ownership has ‘a government’, as in, someone is enforcing the rules that there is no ownership, and if you don’t like that rule you are required to leave.

                Now, this ‘all of society’ can be any size you want, and can be an actual ‘government’ or not. What is stopping competitors from existing might be laws, or the market might be some sort of natural monopoly. But that hardly matters.

                The only economically important questions within socialism are 1) ‘What sort of transactions are planned vs how what aren’t’ which can go from very little (our government) to maybe a third (socialism) to almost all (communism, in theory.) and 2) ‘How do we *handle* both planned and unplanned (if any) transactions? Money, putting it in the rules, or the honor system?’.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC says:

                Yeah, no. First, I’m sure you know what collective ownership means, and I’m sure you know why it’s not what a corporation is (that’s private ownership, even if it’s private ownership by a bunch of people). I’m also sure you know that “government” in this context means an entity separate from, if beholding to (and perhaps comprised of a subset of), the people. And even as you acknowledge that communism is socialism, you define a hard-and-fast rule for separating them, which simply isn’t possible. Hell, Soviet Communism looked different at different periods, with Stalinist complete central planning replacing earlier, less centrally-planned Marxist-Leninist Communism.

                Socialism is the collective ownership of the means of production, period. Everything else is “[modifier] socialism,” and this includes communism.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

                Also, if we’re just quibbling over what constitutes “government,” the anarchic socialists are going to be difficult to explain.

                Added: Also, if I were going to give a defining feature of communism (which can be anarchic as well), one that separates it from other forms of socialism, I would say that it has nothing to do with planning, but with the absence of private property. That is, when you get rid of private property altogether, you have communist socialism, regardless of what sort of state you have, if you have any, and regardless of what, if any, central planning there is.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Chris says:

              Yes. I generally define socialism as collective ownership of the means of production and capitalism as the individual ownership of the means of production. By that definition, I am a capitalist.

              Those definitions don’t get much play. Usually,you get one group of people arguing that capitalism is everything great about individual freedom and private enterprise and socialism is everything wrong with left-leaning policies and, likewise, you get another group arguing that socialism is everything great about collective solutions and that capitalism is just a synonym for greed and indifference to human suffering.

              This is part of the reason that I had to get the hell out of DC.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chris says:

              I had some weird discussions with people during the ACA thing, by pointing out that health insurance cannot possibly qualify as ‘the means of production’. Seriously, it just doesn’t. It’s moving money around. Insurance is not a way of producing anything.

              That much is obvious when thought about

              I’ve also sometimes gone a step past that and made the argument that healthcare, despite being generally included in things like the GDP, does not really fit exactly as a traditional output in economics, so the means to produce it are not really a ‘means of production’.

              ‘Means of production’ are, specifically, capital and infrastucture. They are not labor or money. They are factories and roads and tools. Or, in the example here, hospitals and doctor’s offices, right?

              But if labor is not a means of production, than the things that make labor *exist* are not really means of production either. I don’t mean ‘things that help the process of labor’, I mean ‘things that cause the mere existence of people able to provide labor’.

              It is infrastructure creation. (Or rather infrastructure non-destruction) …but of labor, which doesn’t count as a ‘means of production’. It itself is *technically* producing something, but that thing is only useful as an input to produce more things…and that input of labor is, very specifically, *not* a means of production.

              Sometimes we over-simplify things a bit.Report

          • Avatar Notme in reply to greginak says:


            Then who is misunderstanding or misusing term, bernie when he says he is a socialist or the dems that dont have an issue with it?Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Notme says:

              @notme Honestly the term is used incorrectly by almost everybody who uses it. Even when people use is close to correctly they are usually still vague about. Sanders isn’t, afaik, looking for government ownership of the means of production or for the gov to control the economy.

              I really don’t think you will hear this but almost all people who describe themselves as liberal or left in the US dont’ want to replace capitalism. Most are suspicious of big business and the media and ads. They may favor more regulation but they are fine and dandy with buying stuff from people. They like shopping. In fact many lefties who hate big business love love love capitalism. They think that through buying stuff from good and noble and pure small business they can change the world. That is some capitalism love.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

            Does socialism mean that I don’t have to be the one to clean up mouse poop? If that’s what socialism means, I could really get to approve of socialism.Report

          • Avatar Dand in reply to greginak says:

            Fascist is misused more often.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The funny thing about social democracy is that oftentimes when people reference it, they point to the Nordic countries as an example. I don’t so much see people referring to the Southern European countries, who have roughly the same social democrat institutions as the Nordics.

        Wonder why.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to j r says:

          Western European countries ranked from highest to lowest government spending as percentage of GDP:

          Denmark, France, Finland, Belgium, Greece, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, UK, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Spain, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

      It’s all just Kabuki.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to zic says:

      I wonder if Sanders will try to pull a Nader 2000 when he loses the Dem nomination? (Other than being aware of his candidacy, I don’t know anything more about it.)Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        He is an independent choosing to run in the Democratic primary, instead of as an independent or for the nomination of a third party (which he could probably win). Everyone is I think rightly taking that as a specific statement that he intends not to take the Nader route.

        But he could still surprise us, I guess.Report

        • I think there is probably just enough of a threat of that to keep HRC from tacking too much to the center. But it also doesn’t really look like she’s inclined to do so anyway.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

            Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this whole “tacking” business (mostly it’s others who’ve lean on that as the frame for Sanders or any more ideological candidacy), and I think it’s substantially mistaken analysis in the case of Snaders.

            Sometimes it’s about that, but sometimes not so much. I would admit that Sanders does see his role as partly to keep Hillary honest from the progressive standpoint, but much more I think the point is to give voice to what he sees as what will be essentially an unspoken agenda for the left if someone like him or Warren didn’t run.

            I.e., I don’t think it’s so much about making incremental changes in the policy trajectory of the HRC campaign. The movement from campaign positions to governing positions would swamp such increments anyway. It’s about making sure a whole platform of views is given a hearing in the most-engaged political conversation the country has that literally Hillary couldn’t give voice to while maintaining a position profile that puts her on a path to election. I think a Warren candidacy would be about the same thing if it were happening this year. I wonder if last of the reason it’s not is because Warren thinks she’s actually a viable candidate down the road and doesn’t want to brand herself as an “alternative platform” candidate yet.

            I will say that in 2008 and 2012 even, I thought the GOP was impressive in that it had a lot of people doing this. Now it’s starting to look less like that to me (Paul could be said to be doing this, but I also think Rand actually thinks he can win), and more like a bunch of people who are not looking to represent unheard platforms as much as advance their brand or sign book and TV deals.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        @gabriel-conroy @michael-drew @will-truman

        I think Sanders made it pretty clear that he is not going to attack HRC. He is merely trying to move the issues to the left.Report

  6. Avatar Notme says:

    Is it really a surprise that dems are okay with socialism? Im sure that many Americans are ok with getting free stuff from the govt as long as they dont have to pay.Report

  7. Avatar Glyph says:

    I only saw these today, or I would have submitted them:

    A real-life Saul Goodman; his ad must be seen to be believed:

    Also (what sounds like) a Cajun messes with a gator, and hilarity ensues:


  8. Avatar Kim says:

    S6: It’s one thing to let pedophiles write books for children. It’s another thing when they’re actively shilling illicit relationships (Kanon springs to mind) and being paid explicitly to do so. There are plenty of living pedophiles in the arts, and so long as they keep their hands off the kids, I don’t care what they’re doing.

    And yes, Carroll wasn’t nearly as weird as people wanted to say he was.Report

  9. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [S3] I would say Andrew Exum can eat my shorts, but I’m wearing them.Report

  10. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    S2 – This is what comic companies do. Someone else will be Batman for 6-12 months, then Bruce Wayne will be Batman again because unfortunately, in modern WFH comics, you can’t launch a new comic character without it being attached to an existing property.Report

    • What I find exasperating about it is not just replacing Bruce Wayne temporarily (though the regularity of such events grates), but the tendency to do these things at exactly the time when there are movies being developed when synergy ought to be the order of the day. “Oh, look, there is a popular series of Batman movies coming out. Let’s kill Bruce Wayne and make Dick Grayson Batman!” “On the cusp of Superman v Batman, let’s replace Wayne with Robot Bunny Batman!”

      Hey, they’re making a Deadpool movie, let’s kill Deadpool!

      You can’t, and shouldn’t, align things perfect, and sometimes it’s just bad luck (“Hey, Helena Bertinelli is popular on the Arrow but we just retconned her into oblivious… crap.”) but sometimes they seem to go out of their way. (On a personal level, I don’t like that they seem to have aligned Green Arrow with Arrow… but I can’t say it wasn’t the smart move.)Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Yeah, I get baffled by all this commotion that shows up all the time by the media that simply does not understand comics.

      There are certain superhero identities that will have someone in them 90% of the time, forever. And certain people that will be alive 90% of the time. Occasionally, people might end up dead for a while, and/or those superhero identities might end up with other people, or whatever, but *if* it’s a well-known superhero identity with a well-known person in it, it will almost certainly end up back how it started.

      If it’s a well-known superhero identity but *not* a well-known person in it, you might end up with another person in it. Inversely, if it’s a well-known person but not a well-known identity, you might end up with them getting a new costume and name. If neither are well-known…hell, anything could happen.

      But *any* comics character change that seems ‘shocking’ enough to announce to non-comic fans are exactly those that are well-known enough that they will eventually get undone. Even the things that seem like exceptions usually eventually aren’t. (Even Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl.)

      This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I dislike actual comic books while liking the premise and characters in them…nothing ever advances. It’s not allowed to, everything’s become too iconic. Or, to think about it another way, they are stuck in having to do remakes and reboots…except without any pause between them.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

        FTR, I collected comic books for years. I know the score. I am objecting to it on the grounds outlined above.

        Jean-Paul Valley as Batman for a spell was kind of cool, even if it was temporary and known to be temporary. JPV as Batman during a movie reboot or when a new show is being made or doing well, though, is dumb.

        It also ties into something I believe is a genuine problem within the industry (and has been for years and years, of course, since the Death of Superman if not before), which is entertainment media headline hunger.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

        And I’m really bummed about Barbara Gordon and Barry Allen.

        If they wanted to start over and undo the legacies (which I think is quite reasonable, especially with my above-stated views) they need to really just start over. They could have even kept Jaime Reyes (a better known quantity than Ted Kord) by putting the Charlton characters in the recent past (especially given that, at the time of Flashpoint, almost all of the Charlton characters had been replaced). Start at Year Three or so to accelerate the Justice League and Robin (and you can have a separate LotDK-style Year One series), and keep synergy between comics and other properties, swapping out characters during down periods.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

        This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I dislike actual comic books while liking the premise and characters in them…nothing ever advances.

        Another piece of evidence that these are our new gods (no pun intended).

        We can tell new stories about them, maybe, but we better be telling stories about *THEM*.Report

  11. Avatar Kim says:

    The… earliest… homosexuals… were in the 19th century? ROFL. Idiots.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

      From a certain standpoint, yes. Humans were aware that some people were attracted to their gender or were uncomfortable in their own biological gender for as long as there were humans. Some societies persecuted these people immensely and others offered varying categories of acceptance. What all of the pre-19th century societies lacked was a scientific understanding of same-sex attraction. Homosexual was coined to create a more scientific term for people attracted to their own gender just like transsexual is a scientific term for people not comfortable in their own biological gender. You can make a good faith argument that there is no homosexuality without an attempt to understand it from the standpoint of Enlightenment thinking.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The point is, in the mid-19th century we got more than the word. (In fact, the word didn’t catch on until later. At first there was “urning” and “invert” and various other terms.) The point is, what we got then was a model of gayness, which was based on a medical understanding, which led to an identity model. This was a new thing. Of course, the rise of urbanism was also a new thing, and I suspect the latter contributed as much to the rise of gay culture as the medical model. In other words, I prefer a more economic/materialist view, over the all-culture view we get from Foucault.

        But that said, I don’t think he’s totally wrong. The medical and identity models did arise in that period and they also contributed to the emerging gay identity. That’s a big deal and worth talking about.

        The medial model of transsexuality predates the rise of the modern identity model. Again, this is no surprise.

        This is a great book that discusses how this played out for trans people:

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

          I think the origins of LGBT identity are both economic and materialist and cultural. The important cultural shift was from a religious model of understanding these things and towards a secular scientific attempt to understanding same-sex attraction. The monotheistic religions saw sex between members of the same gender or cross-dressing as a sin but understood this to be an action like theft or adultery rather than a state of being. Just as it was possible for a thief to repent and no longer steal, it was also possible for a sodomite to repent by no longer committing sodomy. A scientific understanding of same-sex attraction required seeing it as at least an innate or caused trait if not a permanent one.

          Economics and materials causes are also important though. LGBT identity came into existence at a time of mass urbanization, increasing wealth and leisure time, and the rise of mass entertainment and hobbyists of all sorts. Basically, everything that was necessary to create a sub-culture was there. If the shift from a religious understanding to a scientific understanding of same sex attraction took place when life was closer to the bone than LGBT identity probably would have expressed itself differently.Report

  12. Avatar veronica d says:

    [S3] — That was the most offensive link posted! I mean, even more than the cis gay who ignored trans women.

    Men, here’s the score: if you want to wear shorts, wear shorts! Rock your bitching shorts! Show off your weird but gloriously hairy legs!

    Okay, so truth, I’ve seen men in shorts — usually those longish thigh length things — who look good. But those who do are usually pretty fit and have nice tans and nice legs and wear clothes that fit them. On the other hand, I sometimes see big fat guys in cargo shorts and baggy tees with comic characters on them — and well, you get the idea.

    But still! That fat guy isn’t going to look skinny in jeans, and his body is his body and he shouldn’t feel fucking shame, nor should some ninny on the Internet get bossy about his clothes.

    Hey fat guy! Wear shorts if you wanna.

    Or not. Your choice.

    Yeah, a lot of people, and in particular men, could dress better. They could wear clothes that fit. They could wear clothes that are clean. This is truth.

    I mean, it’s your decision. What signals do you want to send? How much effort do you want to spend sending those signals?

    Sometimes nerdy, socially awkward people can misunderstand the signals. Like no, sorry, that fedora does not make you look like a dashing hero from noir, especially when combined with a baggy tee and a trench coat.

    Just, aesthetics don’t work that way.

    But on the other hand, if you want to wear that, if you like it, then wear it.

    Nerd fucking pride!

    (Don’t be a misogynistic asshole, but that has nothing to do with your hat.)

    And hey, if you wanna wear short-shorts and show off your adorable butt — oh heavens! (fans self)

    It’s okay to wear shorts whenever you want to wear shorts.

    In other news, leggings are pants.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to veronica d says:

      v, you’ve been around a bit longer than I have…
      What’s the worst ad campaign RedHat’s had?
      (afriend: “I’m contractually obligated to not wear red hats… or fedoras.”)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

      veronica d:

      Hey fat guy! Wear shorts if you wanna.

      I did and it resulted in a company-wide email being sent out and everybody had to sign a piece of paper saying that they had read the employee handbook.

      True story.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to veronica d says:

      I’m mostly on Team Grown Men Shouldn’t Wear Short Pants, but I’ve also been known to stand on my porch yelling at clouds and telling the kids to get of my lawn.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to j r says:

        I habitually slouch around my house in — and I am not kidding — two different, and highly conflicting, types of plaid. (One is a ridiculously comfortable pair of flannel pants and the other is an old flannel shirt, because my wife keeps the house too cold). And crocs.

        I change if I’m leaving, though. 🙂

        Then again, my personal style is “jeans and a polo-shirt” like…95% of my life outside of my house.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to j r says:

        Winner, winner, early bird dinner.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        Short pants look ridiculous with a belt, so where are you going to put your onion?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

      Men are at rough spot when it comes to fashion. Men who don’t dress well are called slobs but men who put care into their clothing choices get all sorts of derisive remarks to. At best a man who cares about fashion and grooming well be called a hipster and in Europe at worse some sort of slur for homosexual with all the implications involved. These remarks often come from the same people. American men have it particularly rough in these regard because the elegant gentleman stopped being an acceptable ideal for American men sometime during the 1950s. A more urbane ideal of manhood still persists in Europe though.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Men are expected to master forgery in order to create clothes that are both well-tailored and have the “worn” look to them, that current society favors.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to LeeEsq says:


        In the US, we need to have the “Beau Brummel” archetype be positive. Dammit, being a peacock is a huge part of the cis straight male identity for them – there should be an equivalent niche for hominids as well.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:

      Thigh length shorts are called Ghurkas. They were the types of shorts that British Army types wore in North Africa and Asia.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d says:


      Preach on, sister! I hate most dressing conventions. Where whatever the fuck you want and let’s get on with our lives.Report

  13. Avatar Chris says:

    [P2] On the one hand, good. Hell, I wish it was 100%.

    On the other hand, this is somewhat misleading. A substantial portion of that 52% almost certainly recognizes that a.) Sanders has no chance of winning the nomination, and b.) in his current position, he has little influence on the party or actual policy. So “Yeah, it’s cool that he’s a socialist. I mean, why should I care?” is not really all that revealing about the Democratic Party.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

      He’s also one of the guys in DC who isn’t being blackmailed (see: irrelevant).Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

      To clarify: The poll in cited for the 52% figure was not tied to Sanders, and was taken in 2014.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      Ah yes, I see that now. Hmm… that makes me even more dubious of the number, particularly given how watered down the term has become because of its use by conservatives.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        I suspect the “watered down” thing is true and significant.

        There’s a poll making its way around Twitter today about the increasing self-identification of “liberal”… I think that may tie into it a bit in a desire to “own” the labels once skittish about (even if perhaps – perhaps – not understanding them).Report

  14. Avatar veronica d says:

    I’ll agree with one part of [S7], people should not look to romcoms for dating advice.Report

  15. Avatar Dand says:

    There’s no P1!Report

  16. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    What happened to P1?

    P2: I think that a lot of liberal democrats just want to move the Overton Window to the left if only in the Democratic Party and only nationally. Bernie Sanders is not running a toxic campaign against Hillary. He is trying to reintroduce the idea of the Welfare State to U.S. politics. I also think they are using social democracy and not Socialism here. I haven’t heard Sanders talk about nationalizing key industries yet or destroying all private enterprise and property.

    P3: America might need that surprisingly dull campaign.

    P7: What is really interesting to me about this story is the implication that you can probably phrase any policy end point in terms for any ideology.

    S2: Here is the thing. I think a lot of people are just sort of in a buy buy buy mode when it comes to Geek culture. A lot of my comic book friends really dislike Snyder’s version of Superman and they seem to think that Superman v. Batman is going to be an absolute mess. They also don’t like what happened to Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (she seems to have been turned into a sex pot in short shorts). Yet many of them will still go to see the opening weekend even if to grumble and hate-watch. There were also plenty of people who thought that Superman v. Batman looked awesome as a trailer. If you don’t like, you have to stop spending money on the stuff. Hit DC in their bank account.

    S3: Damn right!Report

    • See 11:45am comment wrt P1 (and S4)

      S1 – I think part of the concern is that the studios will not get the right message, and will stop making superheroes movies of any sort. That’s not a particular fear that I have, though. They’d come back, and maybe less sucky than they were before. But a lot of the anger devoted to the misappropriation of properties is quite rational. When these movies are made, they assure the absence of a better made movie. So in that sense, it’s worse than nothing when you calculate the opportunity costs.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      S2: Comic books are in a really tough business model right now. Most of the more popular characters have been cultural icons for decades. There have been a lot of changes to these cultural icons in the comics themselves but most people are only aware of the character through the hazy lens of collective memory rather than from decades of devoted comic reading. At the same time, there have been lots of changes in America and comic book publishers need to find ways to keep iconic characters relevant for modern audiences. They also can’t anger their most devoted followers just yet. Since most comic books are team efforts in the United States, the situation gets worse.

      The manga business model is better in this regard because even the most popular manga series end eventually rather than continue on for decades after the original creators lose interest. There are some exceptions to this but not that many, only a handful like Doraemon or Astroboy. This saves the manga industry from the problems that the American comic book industry has.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Comic books are an area, I think, where copyright/IP law has hindered rather than helped art, even if we only consider the original producers. The characters would have to evolve because they couldn’t just keep cashing in on owning the exclusive rights to the character itself.

        This is complicated by trademark law, though.Report

    • “America might need that surprisingly dull campaign.”

      Yeah, but the 2000 campaign was excruciatingly dull, if I recall.Report

  17. Avatar Chris says:

    S3: The answer is, every day from late April to mid-October, if you live in Austin.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Dand says:

      Is this a serious question? From the details i remember these is a quite a bit of difference. But it would depend on knowing a bit about normal sexual development, childrens behavior and what sexual abuse is. I doubt frontpage gives a crap or knows anything about those things.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to greginak says:

        The incident happened when he was a boy ten years there’s no evidence that anything has happened since then.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Dand says:

          Yeah….As i understand he resigned from the FRC. Did they fire him, if so then ask them about it. I assume he resigned to avoid embarrassment. Sex abuse is a very touchy ( yes i’m punny) subject that most people can’t discuss well.

          Most people, even many parents, have a really poor idea of what is normal and what isn’t with kids and sex. I’ve met parents who were aghast their little boys got erections.Report

          • Avatar Dand in reply to greginak says:

            No one is claiming Dunham’s actions reflect poorly on the politicians and causes she supported like they are for Dugger.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Dand says:

              Ohhh wrong about that Dand. I remember when the Dunham stuff came out some people on the right made it an issue for liberals in general and anybody she supported. LD was definitely made into an issue for the people she supported.

              The wapo article is saying people who have supported the Duggar’s or he has supported will have to be clear about how that stand about him and sexual abuse. This seems pretty typical for any public figure who gets into trouble. All the people they have pushed and been associated with make PR statements about them.Report

              • Avatar Dand in reply to greginak says:

                Ohhh wrong about that Dand. I remember when the Dunham stuff came out some people on the right made it an issue for liberals in general and anybody she supported. LD was definitely made into an issue for the people she supported.

                Conservative blogs were but it didn’t receive anywhere near the same treatment from non-partisan media outlets.

                Did the NYTimes wash WaPo(the two most important outlets in country) say anything about it.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dand says:

                Beats me Dand. Feel free to check. I don’t’ think either story means much of anything to any larger political view. Since i don’t read any red meat conservo blogs, but i did hear plenty about Dunham it clearly got beyond just the rightosphere.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dand says:

          What Josh did was terrible. No doubt about that. There is, however, a reason that we (although not as consistently as we should) don’t pursue the crimes of children as adults, and (though this is more controversial) why we have statutes of limitations.

          The bigger story of the Duggar story is the actions of the parents. Not just the hypocrisy thing, which is a card often overplayed, but when you’re hiding a family secret like that, you don’t get to be a star. You don’t run for governor of Arkansas and make big endorsements of politicians. If you give a crap about your family, you don’t do anything that will draw attention to your family. Even if we forgive their handling of it at the time, it’s just all around crap.

          And though the hypocrisy card is overplayed, there are limits to the extent that you can be an advocate for morality as an adult, if you did that as a young adult, while hiding that you did that as a young adult. When you make your story a cause, there is a degree to which you need to be honest about the important parts of your story (or your family’s).Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

            I dont’ see many kids being prosecuted for sex abuse. Oh it happens and it often should. But what is more common is treatment for the offender and keeping that kid away from other kids until people are really sure he is safe. Protecting others from the offender is important and making sure the kid gets help.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to greginak says:

              Although if it’s a brother abusing a sister, often enough the treatment is “send him off to military school” (note: decision by parents, gets the kid out of the house… don’t air dirty laundry).Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Dand says:

          My understanding is that there were multiple incidents, with multiple girls. And that indications are that at least some of those girls, may be his sisters. FWIW.

          Which doesn’t sound like simple “child experimentation” or “teen Romeo & Juliet” scenarios.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Dand says:


      This is a piss-poor attempt to troll liberals.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Calling out double standards is trolling?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Dand says:

          In our society, adults are routinely able to subject children to the torture that is known as tickling, and if the child begs for the adult to stop, the adult often will not — and no opprobrium is thrown their way for this.

          In such a society, are you surprised at any double standard at all?Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

            This comment is beautiful.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Kim says:

            Whatever….Elmo was asking for it. He consented.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kim says:

            Actually, I agree. Kids own their own bodies, and while we (by necessity) trust parents and guardians to make medical choices for kids, that control should not extend to all possible non-consensual touching.

            For example, if I want to hug a child, I ask them if I may hug them. If they say yes, yay! hug! If they say no, no hug for me. (sadface)

            It’s their body.

            My niece won’t let me hug her. I hope someday she changes her mind, cuz she’s mega adorbz and profoundly huggable.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d says:


              A former colleague and friend of mine wrote about this on her blog and the importance of respecting kids’ autonomy and agency over their own bodies, especially with affection. They don’t and shouldn’t have full autonomy and agency — I have no misgivings about holding my son down to administer a shot by a doctor — but with affection, developing healthy attitudes means recognizing that hugs and kisses and the like should always be voluntary and consensual. Too few people recognize this.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kim says:

            I fully agree with you there – it rather undermines our teaching of consent if we don’t respect our children’s right to consent – to tickling, to hugs, etc. etc.

            In my own daughter’s case, she usually comes to me to ask to be tickled, and I get tired of it long before she does. Part of her enjoyment of tickling, I suspect, is that I have always, always, stopped when she asked me to.Report

        • Avatar Dand in reply to Dand says:

          To explain further I think the non-conservative media went easier on Dunham because she was more culturally similar to them.

          ETA: I don’t think it’s just political I think Paul Ryan received favorable treatment from the media because of cultural similarities.Report

  18. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The Chronicle released their list of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants. These are the best dishes from the top 100:

  19. Avatar Dand says:

    Why history suggests that today’s wage stagnation is temporary

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Dand says:

      Read that article I keep on fucking posting about 47% of American jobs being lost in the next 20 years.
      That’ll show you that history’s quite mixed on the subject of technology and job creation — and that there was quite a time when more technology meant more jobs!Report

  20. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    This week in Sexism:

    Maggie Gyllenhaal was told she was too old to play the lover of a 55 year old. Maggie Gyllenhaal is 37!!! She is also absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Yes I have a crush on Maggie Gyllenhaal, why do you ask?

  21. Avatar j r says:

    By the way, this seems like another case where the underlying principle doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    If people have a preference of younger women to older women that’s their preference. Every time some dude goes off on a rant about how women don’t like X type of men, a bunch of people rightly step up to tell him that he has no prior claim on anyone else’s affections. Deal with it.

    When are preferences justified and when are they some -ism?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:


      That is completely misstating the issue in another piss-poor attempt to troll liberals.

      A 37 year old female actor should not be considered too old to be undesirable especially when paired against a man who is closer to collecting social security than not.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Right, everyone who disagrees with you is trying to “troll liberals.”

        And you are begging the question. “Should not” implies a value judgment. So what’s the value? Either preferences are fine or they’re not fine. Which is it?Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to j r says:

          It is much less about preferences than a person being considered unhireable for a job due to certain values. The values in question seeming to be that 37 is to old to hook up with a 55 year old dude. That smacks of weird ( value laden word) values regarding age and women.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to greginak says:

            Presumably Maggie Gyllenhaal has the career that she has in the first place, in part, because she is an attractive woman. If she were a great actress, but 200 pounds or was conventionally unattractive, she wouldn’t be a movie star; at least she wouldn’t be the same movie star.

            If her looks and overall physical attributes worked in her favor all the years prior, why is suddenly an issue if they are now working against her?

            Again, you are just restating the issue, but not providing any clear ethical principle for what sort of preferences are justified and what sort are wrong.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to j r says:

              The 55 year old dude also benefits from being good looking i would assume. In fact everybody in the media benefits from looking good. The issu still gets back to the idea behind a 37 year old woman is to old to look good next to a 55 year old guy.

              If we’re talking famous actors/actresses they are all rich and famous so its not like we are talking about a low status group. Of course not all performers are rich so it would really suck for a 37 hot woman actress who isn’t famous to already be aged out of all sorts of roles.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

                The way I understand it for working actors is that they generally find themselves competition with the same people for roles over and over again. This is true at all fame-levels (Maggie still mainly acts in smaller projects).

                This is especially hard on character actors as they get older especially female actors.

                My general guess though is that most 37 year old women would consider getting hit on by 50 year olds as kind of gross. A friend of mine is an occupational therapist and when she was single in her 30s, she said the 50-something single doctors would hit on her and she thought they were too old.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to greginak says:

                Few things:

                -This is an anecdote. We have no idea what the real story is, why she didn’t get the role in question.

                -Let’s assume that it is the case that the producers wanted someone younger-looking. Chances are there was a reason. Like, maybe the movie was about a man being romantically involved with a woman remarkably younger than him and the producers thought that Gyllenhaal didn’t fit that bill for some reason. Why is that wrong?

                -If your argument is that it’s wrong because it’s a double standard, that gets us somewhere, but it’s still unclear what the principle is. I could easily imagine a very young looking male actor not getting a role, because of looking too young and too immature. That’s double standard, but no one would call it sexism.

                To sum it up, I can see having a disagreement with this, at least as much as we know, but what makes it wrong?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to j r says:

                @j-r @saul-degraw Vox has a surprisingly good rundown. They have a chart with Danzel Washington aging and his love interests staying almost squarely in the 28-35 range.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to j r says:

                Chances are there was a reason. Like, maybe the movie was about a man being romantically involved with a woman remarkably younger than him

                Maaaaaybe it was. And the other 99% likelihood is that it was another instance of this

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

            When in reality a lot of 55 year old guys would probably fall to their knees if they could get a 37 year old girlfriend. Let’s face it, most 55 year old guys are not George Clooney or Brad Pitt. The idea of a 55 year old being able to easily attract a 25 year old is laughable.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:


          Fair enough but @greginak hits it better than I did. Why do you have a right to tell liberals what they should and should not care about? Why should everything just merely be reduced to allegedly individual preference instead of the world values that Greg describes below?Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to j r says:

      This isn’t at all at all at all about a particular 55 year old man who is only attracted to very young women, so you really don’t get to say “personal preferences are not subject to policing.”

      This was a movie casting decision, in which the actors are not expected to actually feel attraction for one another, only to depict it convincingly. And the casting director said that Gyllenhaal, at 37, is too old to portray convincingly the love interest of a 55 year old man, in a movie where an extreme age disparity between the love interests is not a central feature. If this were about casting her in the title role of Lolita, you might have a point, but it wasn’t.

      This is about her being, generically, credible as a love interest across from a 55 year old male actor. It’s not a claim that audiences wouldn’t find it credible that a particular 55 year old male character would not be attracted to Gyllenhaal’s character. It’s a claim that audiences wouldn’t find it credible that a particular 55 year old male character would be attracted to Gyllenhaal’s character – unless that attraction is somehow built up around the “character eccentricity” of being attracted to women over 2/3 of one’s own age.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to dragonfrog says:


        What’s the basis of that claim? Do you have a source or are you just extrapolating from the anecdote?Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to j r says:

          You don’t figure she’d have mentioned that, seeing as how it would be pretty much the key to the whole incident? You think she’d have brought it up in the first place, if the role had specified that the character was supposed to be, say, an early-twenties undergraduate who dates her elderly male professor?

          That’s a pretty dark view of Ms. Gyllenhaal, and requires some extreme head-in-the-sandedness about the state of gender equality in Hollywood.Report

      • Think about it. 55/2 + 7 is 34 1/2, so why would he want an old bag that’s almost three years past that?Report

  22. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I was refreshing myself on the differences between Socialism and Communism, and ran across a site describing the difference between “left-wing” and “right-wing” as mostly being one of a focus on government (and collective action) versus a focus on individuality.

    Our vocabulary really fails us.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

      In Europe it seems more common to refer to parties as having left and right-wings. There was a famous split in the 1950s between the left and right-wings of the UK Labour Party.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

      If you read anything about the anarchist and communist movements of the 20s, 30s, and 40s in Europe, you’ll come across a fairly broad spectrum of classifications: left anarchists, right anarchists, left communists, right communists, left socialists, right socialists, and mixtures of all of those. The Spanish Civil War was particularly diverse in its various leftisms and rightisms.

      In our political environment, we’ve decided that there are two things: the left, which is the liberals, and the right, which is the conservatives, and therefore left = liberal and right = conservative, as they are defined in the American political discourse. It’s unfortunate not simply because it means we have trouble discussing divergent ideas within particular segments of the spectrum, but because I think it has an actual flattening effect on the space of ideas.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

      Our vocabulary really fails us.

      Well, yes&no, yeah? One way to look at it is the “governmental vs. private rights” axis is what American culture is all about dammit! Another way is to say there are all sorts of nuances which our conventional language skips right past which make us worse for it happening. But in the end, it’s our culture which determines language conventions, so the fact that all these crazy werdz don’t make it into our lexicon says something about it. For better or worse, ya know?

      Edit: what I’m getting on about here is prolly right up CK’s alley, since it points to a certain type of essentialism in American culture such that even changing political discourse constitutes a change in America.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

        I guess my bigger complaint is that it wasn’t clear that it was referring specifically to the American political context. Which can be inferred if we’re talking about, say, American politics. But absent that, Right-wing and Left-wing have broader contexts across time and place. And even in the American context, I don’t think you can talk about right-wing and left-wing and juxtapose relatively mainstream conservative and liberal views.Report

      • In the US, the right wing is for the rights of individuals, where that means the rights of those individuals who are white, male, heterosexual Christians to use state and local government to marginalize everyone else without the interference of the dictatorial federal government.Report

    • Interesting. I was surprised that Denver was so low, with only 15% being suburban. That’s got to exclude the airport, which makes up about a third of the total area inside the city limits. Even more interesting, in my inner-ring Denver suburb already committed transit-oriented development over the next couple of years is probably going to push a couple of the zip codes over the 2,213 households per square mile number. The zip code boundaries are a bit odd — certainly there will be a core few square miles that will be above that number. It will be interesting to see if those people continue to think they’re living in the ‘burbs or not.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:


        I generally see many cities except those out of the Northeast and some in the Northwest and Chicago as giant suburbs. To me urban requires a lot of public transportation and high rises need to be not uncommon. But as Jordan Weissman points out, Queens is very suburban in parts and so is deeper Brooklyn. There are at least single family homes with front and back yards.Report

        • …cities except… some in the Northwest…

          There are only two cities in the Northwest — Seattle and Portland, both typical western cities with much larger and clearly suburban surroundings. Cite something objective that makes Seattle and Portland urban that doesn’t apply just as well to Denver as part of the Front Range, and on a smaller scale to Salt Lake City as part of the Wasatch Front. Ditto Sacramento and significant parts of Southern California, for that matter. Especially when you look as little as two years into the future, when (for example) Denver’s light rail ridership will easily surpass Portland’s.

          San Francisco, your usual example, is a very nice moderately-large city. But in the 11-state American West (Census Bureau definition for several very good reasons, less Alaska and Hawaii as obvious special cases) of 70M+ people, San Francisco at less than a million is an anomaly of history and geography that is unlikely to ever be reproduced.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:


            The Slate article says that Seattle is only three percent suburban. Portland scores higher at 43 percent. Though when I was in Portland, parts of it seemed very urban to me. In many ways it reminded me more of an East Coast city than San Francisco (this could have just been the weather).

            I am honestly surprised that SF counts as being mainly urban. There are lots of parts of SF with big houses and not just the mansions of Pacific Heights. West Portal, Forrest Hill, Bernal Heights, Glenn Park, etc.

            There are also large sections of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx where it is possible to get a detached home with a yard and sometimes with a garage. You don’t even necessarily need to go into deepest Brooklyn:


            • @saul-degraw
              Some of the differences between western cities is a matter of where dividing lines (both zip codes and city limits) are drawn, and if/when the central city had its areal growth constrained. Eg, Denver’s city limits were effectively fixed by a constitutional amendment in 1974 that blocked future annexation without permission of the annexed, and density has been going up ever since. Portland has continued to pick up some largish suburban pieces (PDF) for much longer than Denver was able to.

              2,213 households per square mile isn’t really that dense — 3.5 households per acre. Even allowing 50% for roads/parks/other, a mix of garden apartments and single-family detached houses (at current Denver suburban spacing) will reach that density easily. My zip code is ~1,950 households per square mile, and we’ve got undevelopable flood plain, some horse properties, generous parks and recreation, retail areas, and an operating freight railroad. Density in the zip code has been increasing steadily as long as I’ve lived here, and while initial TOD is happening just across the line into the next zip code over, there’s a batch of land with marginal retail on it in my zip code where TOD will push us over the 2,213 cutoff within several years. None of it’s going to be “urban” in my eyes, just “denser suburbs”.Report

      • Apropos a conversation we had here recently, I was actually thinking that it may be dreadfully important to the liberal project to get rail from the suburbs to the urban cores, and ramp it up, to foster a sense that they are in it together and prevent the urban/suburban divide that is a threat to the coalition.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

          Potentially. It is also good for getting people to drive less (environmentalism) and spend more time and money in the city (budget stuff). BART and CalTrains (mainly BART)* make it easy to come to the city or leave for work and recreation.

          *BART exists in a weird hybrid of being somewhere between a commuter rail and a subway.Report

        • I agree. Then with my Western partisan hat on, I point out that the most aggressive efforts to do rail to the suburbs are almost all in the West. Not surprising, since western population is so often modest city, much larger suburbs, then vast expanses of truly empty. California differs largely as a matter of overall scale, not structure.Report

      • That’s got to exclude the airport, which makes up about a third of the total area inside the city limits.

        I think the question is how many zip codes the airports take up. I don’t fully know how zip codes are alotted, but intuitively I would say “not many” So it would count, but count as one zip code.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

          Your airport is so big, it takes up 10 zipcodes.Report

          • Yeah, by the time they got done designing the runway layout for the weather, altitude, and DIA’s role as the FAA’s favored western hub (only the 21st biggest MSA in the US, but 5th busiest airport), plus room for future expansion, it had to be ginormous.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:


              I was just trying to make a very silly joke…. Your airport/yo’ mama…Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I think @michael-cain might have gotten the joke, but either way I did, and I almost wrote that I thought it was funny. And now I have.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I heard your airport services fifty different airlines.Report

              • Day and night, from what I understand.Report

              • DIA can, if the wind’s not bad, land three planes at the same time, all on instruments. You ought to be able to do something good with that.Report

              • I got that, and it is funny. There are a lot of local jokes about DIA’s size. Let’s see…

                Overheard from another passenger, partway through taxiing to the runway, “We’re only going to Kansas City. Wouldn’t it be faster if we just taxied the rest of the way?”

                Similar sort of passenger complaint: “If I’d known you were going to taxi all the way to Omaha, I’d have just driven.”

                Flight captain on the intercom (I actually heard this one): “Things are a bit backed up, so we’ve decided it will be quicker to just taxi the rest of the way to Colorado Springs and take off from there.”

                Flight captain on the intercom: “We’re ready to back away from the gate and taxi out to the deicing station and then on to the runway. The cabin crew will be distributing beverages to tide you over on this part of the trip…”Report

        • Misreading on my part — “percent of households”, so the big empty space doesn’t matter one way or the other. In that case, 85% of Denver households in areas denser than the 2,213 per square mile cut off is reasonable. My suburb won’t ever make the 500K size limit (well, not in my lifetime or yours), but within ten years will probably have >50% of households in zip codes with that density.Report

  23. Avatar Stillwater says:

    P2 ends with this sentence:

    Somewhat amazingly, socialism has seen its political slate nearly wiped clean.

    I’m not at all sure what this sentence refers to, since the writer, outa respect for Sanders if not word use, oughta be hip to the fact that Sanders use of the word and concept is distinct from Hitler’s and Lenin’s.

    Slippery slopes!Report

  24. Avatar Dand says:

    New data shows that porn consumption is lower on average in red states; this isn’t surprising given that red states have a higher marriage rate on average.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Dand says:

      I came very close to making an extremely tasteless joke, but then I remembered tall y’all are mostly city folk.

      I’m laughing inside, though.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Dand says:

      I am not so reserved-
      Higher marriage rates = lower porn consumption?

      OK, that did make me laugh.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to LWA says:

        Why do you find it laughable, particularly since the difference in the marriage rate is largely driven by 20-somethings?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dand says:

          But … what’s the matter with Kansas? They’re rackin up per capita page views at a 15% higher clip than the next most immoral state.Report

          • Avatar Dand in reply to Stillwater says:

            Some of the people in KCMO end up with a Kansas IP address?Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dand says:

              Hurm. We’ve had people leave comments whose IP addresses show up as being in Kansas when they shouldn’t. The last time the sockpuppet shows up, tracking down his IP address gave us two states, depending on how I checked. In one case, it was the state we know he lives in. In the other case, it was… Kansas.

              So there may be some false positives?Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Will Truman says:

                Was just reading a breakdown somewhere a few weeks/months ago that explained why there were skewed results of that type: Turns out that a large subset of IPs that can’t be precisely located are somewhat arbitrarily assigned a point near the geographic center of the continental US. I think it was in Kansas.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                Discussed here, but, if look around a little more, you’ll find it written up more extensively:


              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                What’s a bit odd about this to me is that about once a year someone will post a study suggesting the opposite is true. I’m not sure I can make much of this when my response has always been “Statewide data of this sort can be misleading.”Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Will Truman says:

                Opposite of what is true… or how opposite?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                The opposite of the red/blue state described on that chart. Somewhere there’s a study that keeps bumping up that says porn consumption most common in the south specifically and red states generally.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Will Truman says:

                Obvious suspicion would be that lots of people find the idea amusing or telling, so are happy to swallow it over and over again.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                Invariably, it bubbles up through people who want to believe it’s true. The same people from whom I hear “The more educated a voter is the more likely they are to vote Democratic” (not true), “The IQ of states corresponds with its likelihood of being red or blue” (Kind of true, but complicated, but often based on a map that has been widely discredited), and stuff like that.

                Statewide data is inherently misleading, though. We don’t know who within a state – or which set of voters, which if we’re being honest is what we’re usually driving at – is or is not consuming porn, obese, poor, etc. Or we have an idea but pretend not to.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman says:

                Back in ’09, it was supposedly Utah; but that seems to be based on subscriptions sold, and may have something to do with the total lack of any other sorts of adult entertainment in Utah.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic says:

                Being a gentile in Mormonland actively fosters deviancy. If I’d been raised out there, I’d have done twice the [stuff] I’ve done.Report

              • I’ve never done as much drinking as I did the couple of months I lived in Salt Lake City.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                So, you’re saying that the general vibe there was conducive to free ranging, alcohol fueled, good times? 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Statewide data is inherently misleading, though.

                Not to nitpick about this but it isn’t. State wide-data is leading (the opposite of misleading , no?) wrt state-wide data. What it’s not good about or even (if presented correctly) purportedly about is finer grained data-sets than the state-wide one.

                That’s not to say that I don’t agree with what I take to be the more general point you’re implying here: that gross data sets will support all sorts of correlations (causal or otherwise) which aren’t justified by that form of grossness.

                But that’s just politics. Even when someone says that marriage rates are negatively correlated with pron behavior at the state-wide level.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                Obvious suspicion would be that lots of people find the idea amusing or telling,

                Well, if the view that conservatives and married folks (ya know, folks who generally recognize and honor the sanctity of marriage and all that) are less likely to be porn watchers is a priori true, then we get all sorts of theories to account for why moral, conservative Kansas (Kansas!) is such a radical outlier to the thesis, surpassing even Immoral Illinoisians in their immoral illnoise. (or something)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater The funny thing is that had the conversation not unfolded the way it did (Dand speculates that maybe Missouri got rolled in, reminding me of the IP Address fluke, inviting a confirming comment from CKM)… we might have come up with some colorful – if ultimately wrong – reasons as to why Kansas appeared to be an outlier.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Maybe you’ve just figured out what’s really been wrong with Kansas all these years. Fakers and posers!Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater says:

                Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

                Heh. I just got that zic. Very nice!Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Will Truman says:

                Since I kicked this off I suppose I should clarify.
                I counsel liberals never to get too much schadenfreude out of conservatives being caught with their pants down, because sexuality is an equal opportunity beast.

                It would be nice and comforting to imagine that only wicked amoral liberals living in sin watch porn, or that uptight fundamentalists molest young girls, but that just not how the world works.

                If there’s one thing that is truly universal, its sexual desire, and if there is one thing that is truly individual, its how we handle it, or don’t.Report

              • Avatar Dand in reply to LWA says:

                To clarify I wasn’t being judgmental or ideological about it. The reason the higher marriage rates would lead to lower rate porn usage is because porn is a substitute for sex and after adjusting for age married people have sex more frequently.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Dand says:

      Terrific article- thanks for the link. I found the summary particularly well stated:

      “Technological progress is an extraordinarily powerful force, but it’s not destiny. It won’t lift us into utopia or carry us into an unwanted future. The power to do that rests with us human beings. Technologies are merely our tools.”

      In other words- if there is wealth inequality or injustice, it is by our choice.Report

  25. Avatar Stillwater says:

    This isn’t the newest news, but a cop was recently exonerated after killing to unarmed black people. What is interesting (to me anyway) are the following two quotations from this story about the verdict.

    1. O’Donnell [the judge] said that while he found beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo caused at least one fatal wound to Williams’ chest, he couldn’t determine that the other fatal shots came from his gun.

    “One or two other officers inflicted” the others, O’Donnell said, and therefore, he couldn’t find Brelo guilty of Williams’ death.

    So, there’s conclusive evidence Brelo is responsible for at least one fatal shot, but given that there were other fatal shots, he couldn’t find Brelo guilty. Weird.

    2. Brelo’s attorney, Pat D’Angelo, said on Saturday he was “elated” with the verdict.

    “We didn’t do anything illegal. We didn’t do anything wrong. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let any bully push us around,” he said. “We stood toe-to-toe with an oppressive government trying to put away a law-abiding citizen.”

    Even weirder.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

      “Sorry, we can’t arrest any of the people who fired any of the 77 shots for accessory to murder because we don’t know which one actually killed the alleged victim.”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Close, Jaybird. If you had guessed 137 rounds you’d have nailed it. Brelo alone fired 45. One victim (and by that I mean unarmed dead person, not Brelo) was struck with 24 bullets. The other with 23.

        No one killed these people!Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

      ANd thinking about this some more, the thing that’s really weird to me about Brelo’s attorney’s comment is that he’s basically saying that Brelo is innocent not because of protections for the use of force accorded to cops, but protections accorded to him as a citizen. Course, he coulda just been mugging for the press so hard he forgot he was an actual lawyer and all. But still. I get the feeling Brelo was exonerated despite the quality of his representation.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        You know, it’s getting to the point where some folks might reach the conclusion that doing these things right and by the proper process is not an option.

        Not me, of course. I mean other people.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Stillwater says:

      O’Donnell [the judge] said that while he found beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo caused at least one fatal wound to Williams’ chest, he couldn’t determine that the other fatal shots came from his gun.

      If you are not allowed to shoot someone, and you do it on purpose and it’s not a justified shooting, and you do so in a way that *would have* caused their murder except someone else caused their death first…you are, at minimum, guilty of *attempted* murder. Hell, it’s attempted murder *even if* the shots you fired *wouldn’t* have killed them.

      The idea that it somehow became legal to illegally shoot at someone in an attempt to kill them because other people are shooting at that person (regardless of whether or not their shooting is justified…and note I don’t see any evidence it *was* justified) is crazy nonsense.

      In the actual world, putting bullets into people’s body without a good legal justification is, in fact, illegal. At best, someone else kills them and you win the ‘didn’t technically commit murder’ lottery, but it’s still all sorts of illegal. Attempted murder (a felony), assault (a felony), reckless endangerment, unlawfully discharging a firearm, etc.

      Wait, no, you didn’t win the ‘didn’t technically commit murder’ lottery because of three words: Felony. Murder. Rule.

      Here’s the definition of murder in Ohio:
      (A) No person shall purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.
      (B) No person shall cause the death of another as a proximate result of the offender’s committing or attempting to commit an offense of violence that is a felony of the first or second degree and that is not a violation of section 2903.03 or 2903.04 of the Revised Code.

      You commit a felony that, if you hadn’t done it, wouldn’t have resulted in someone dead, that’s a felony. Being part of 15 people illegally firing at a car (attempted murder and/or felony assault) that forces it to stop, and the driver ends up dead…that’s murder, regardless of who fired that last shot. (And if you think about it, that’s *exactly* how that law is supposed to work.)

      It *might* even be aggravated murder (What other places call ‘first degree murder…just plain ‘murder’ is second degree), which is the same crime except you commit that other felony with the knowledge the person would end up dead. I’m not entirely sure it fits the level of pre-knowledge required…but that’s for the court to decide.

      Unless you’re a cop, of course. Laws don’t apply to them.Report

  26. Avatar Kazzy says:


    Price transparency is also important for folks who aren’t using insurance.

    We potentially had to make use of a doctor who was outside our network. When I called their billing department to get an idea of what it would cost us out of pocket, she couldn’t even give me a general range. She insisted she had no idea what the doctor might code the visit as and it was impossible to predict what might come up. I acknowledged that I understood that but perhaps a general sense of the most likely procedures/charges and their costs. Nope. I asked if they had a price list of sorts… ya know, 30 minutes with the doctor costs $X while Procedure A costs $Y. Nope. I eventually got frustrated and told her it was ridiculous that she couldn’t give me ANY pricing information but that they expected us to sign a form accepting full financial responsibility for the visit. I said when you go to a restaurant, you know what the food costs before you order it. She said medicine wasn’t like a restaurant. But is it really so different than she couldn’t give even a general sense of what the visit would cost? How many digits the final tag was likely to have?

    Now… I’ve had other conversations with other doctors where they could give this info. But those were always dentists who I think probably handle more out-of-pocket patients than MDs do. But I consider that woman’s handling of the situation simply unacceptable. Fortunately, we ended up finding a high quality doctor who took our plan and all is well.Report